Georgia Institute of Technology

Faculty Profile

Ben T. Zinn

Ben T. Zinn

Regents Professor

David S. Lewis, Jr. Chair
Joint Regents Professor Mechanical Engineering

Office: Guggenheim 365/366
Phone: 404.894.3033
Fax: 04.894.2760


  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1961, New York University
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1962, Stanford University
  • M.A., Aerospace Engineering and M. Sci., 1963, Princeton University
  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering and M. Sci., 1965, Princeton University


Dr. Zinn joined the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1965 and attained the rank of Regents' Professor in 1973. His fields of research include: control of combustion processes, combustion instabilities in rocket motors, ramjets, jet engine and gas turbines, oscillatory flame phenomena, reacting flows, acoustics and pulse combustion. He has published 117 refereed papers and 213 reports and unrefereed papers, edited two AIAA Progress Series books on combustion diagnostics, wrote the section on "Pulsating Combustion" for a book entitled Advanced Combustion Methods, which was published by Academic Press, and he has given 354 seminars/lectures at various universities and conferences throughout the world. He is also a co-holder of seven patents.


Combustion studies focusing on the following:

  • Fundamental processes controlling the performance of the ultra low emission,
  • A novel afterburner concept using controlled auto ignition to stabilize the combustion process without the use of conventional flame holders
  • Ultra low emission refinery burners that are based on the SPRF combustor concept
  • A steam generator for oil recovery from oil sands that burns pet coke and is based on the SPRF combustor concept
  • Fundamental processes and control of combustion instabilities in liquid rockets and use of a “smart” injector to control them
  • Active control of combustion processes in jet engines, combustion instabilities in military engine afterburners, and a combustion rig for studying combustion instabilities.

Honors and Distinctions

  • Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE),
  • Fellow of the AIAA and the ASME,
  • Honorary Professorship at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing, China,
  • Elected Honorary Fellow of AIAA, 2015
  • Gold Medal of the Combustion Institute,
  • NASA's Certificate of Recognition,
  • AIAA Propellants and Combustion Award, 1996
  • AIAA Pendray Literature Award, 2000
  • Georgia Tech Distinguished Professor Award, 1990
  • Recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2014 Reed Award, the highest honor an individual can receive for notable achievement in aeronautics
  • Georgia Tech Faculty Research Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Development, 1997
  • Georgia Tech Sigma Xi Sustained Research Award.

Selected Publications

  • "Pulse Combustion: Recent Applications and Research Issues", Proceedings 24th Symposium (Int'l) on Combustion, The Combustion Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia,, pp. 1297-1305, 1992,  July 5-10.
  • "Study of the Flow Turning Loss in a Simulated Solid Rocket Motor," co-authored with L. M. Matta. Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 278-284, March-April 1995.
  • "Mixing by Resonant Acoustic Driving in a Closed Chamber," co-authored with L. M. Matta, C. Zhu and J. I. Jagoda. Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 366-370, March-April 1996.
  • “Control of Combustion Instabilities with Secondary Fuel Injection Using Real Time Modes Observation: Practical Implementation," co-authored with Y. Neumeier. Proceedings 26th International Symposium on Combustion, The Combustion Institute, Naples, Italy, July 29 - Aug. 2, 1996
  • "An Overview of Active Control of Combustion Instabilities," Invited Talk. AIAA 97-0461. AIAA 35th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, NV, January 6-9, 1997.

hpep lab

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Prof. Mitchell Walker in the High-Power Electric Propulsion Lab